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«Shrubs for San Joaquin Valley and Foothill Landscapes Recommended by UC Master Gardeners of Tulare & Kings Counties Page 2 Shrubs for San Joaquin ...»

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Oval, glossy evergreen leaves to 4" long. Fragrant, tiny blossoms bloom heaviest in the cool weather of fall, winter and spring and sporadically during the summer. They have a lightly sweet scent like that of ripe apricots. Give afternoon shade in the hottest climates. Can be trained as an espalier or grown in a large container. O. heterophullus has holly-shaped leaves either green or variegated.

Tip: Plant Osmanthus fragrans where the wonderful fragrance of its tiny flowers can be enjoyed both in the garden and wafting in through open windows.

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This shrub is grown for white or cream colored flowers, usually fragrant, that bloom in late spring or early summer. Plants are usually large and vigorous with fountain-like form. Prune every year just after bloom, cutting out oldest wood. To rejuvenate, cut to the ground. Needs good drainage, but not fussy about soil type.

Hybrid, P. x virginalis ‘Minnesota Snowflake’, is a popular old fashioned deciduous flowering shrub with masses of fragrant double white flowers in spring. Plant where fragrance can be enjoyed.

Tip: Plant this spring blooming shrub near a patio or sitting area to enjoy its lovely fragrance.

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Densely foliaged plants with elliptical to oval leaves and bright colored new growth that matures to dark green. Good for screen and background plantings. Many photinias may be trained as trees from the beginning. In spring, all bear small white flowers. Good espalier, cut branches are excellent in arrangements. Prune to control shape.

Tip: Dramatic fiery red spring growth will liven up a border or fence line.

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The showy cascading white, pink, or red flowers and colorful new growth of pieris provides a rich show of color with azaleas, camellias, and other spring flowering shrubs.

Flowers are followed by colorful new foliage growth, which varies by variety, from bronze, brilliant pink to scarlet. As the evergreen leaves mature, they turn bright dark green. The flower buds are often red and develop in late autumn, covering the plant until they burst into bloom in earliest spring. Needs acid, well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil like that of azaleas and camellias.

Tip: Pieris japonica “Mountain Fire” is the very floriferous plant shown in the photograph.

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6-15’ tall and wide Full sun to part shade Moderate to regular water Evergreen Tends to have dense rounded growth with whorls of shiny dark green leaves. Shrub can be kept shorter by careful heading back and thinning, doesn't look as well with shearing.

Fragrant creamy white flowers in early spring that smell like orange blossoms. A good specimen plant or hedge plant; often used as a foundation plant around commercial buildings. A favorite compact variety is ‘Wheelers Dwarf’ which grows to 2-3’ tall and 4 wide, making a compact, rounded semi-circle often used in edges and low boundaries.

Good near swimming pools. The new variety ‘Golf Ball’ remains small, grows into a round ball, and has smaller leaves.

Tip: Good basic, dependable plant with a pleasing shape if allowed to grow naturally and thinned periodically.

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Mounding to 6’ tall, 8 – 10’ wide Full sun or light shade Little to regular water Evergreen, semi-evergreen These are sprawling plants that bloom a long season with phlox-like clusters of blue, sky blue or white flowers at branch ends. One of the few shrubs with blue flowers. Best grown from cuttings or from nurseries for true color. Small, light to medium green leaves. Tolerates most soils but need good drainage. Prune back hard in late winter to control growth and keep them compact. Recovers fast from frost damage. This is a tough plant, easy to grow.

Tip: Plumbago is best for the middle or back of flower beds. If planted too close to a pathway, the flowers will stick to the clothing of passersby.

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15-50’ tall, widths 6-15’ Full sun to partial shade Prefers occasional deep watering Evergreen shrub or tree Often planted as a tree the yew pine is easily trimmed to be a shrub and used as a background plant, screen, thick hedge, or topiary; it is often used beside buildings (in shady areas) to reduce sharp edges at corners. Heading pruning cuts will increase width and density of foliage. Does well in partial shade, given some protection from the hot valley sun. In its natural form it is a narrow, upright tree with long, slender evergreen leaves (broader than ‘P. gracilior’), 4" long and ½" wide, no flowers. The shrubby yew pine, P. macrophyllus maki, is smaller (8-15’tall ) and slow growing, and a better choice for small spaces.

Tip: Sometimes used in flower arrangements (especially funeral baskets), yew pine foliage lasts a long time when cut. Leaves hang on even when dry, and a bowl full of greenery can be handsome for months, even after it turns brown.

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3’ tall and wide Full sun Moderate to regular water Deciduous ‘Chico’ is a dwarf carnation- flowered pomegranate with double orange flowers.

Compact shrub to 3’ high, but can be kept smaller with occasional pruning. This shrubs’ fruit is more decorative than tasty; but this lower growing variety is excellent for edgings, borders, or in containers. Narrow leaves are bronzy when new, maturing to bright or golden green, and then turning brilliant yellow in fall.





Tip: Very showy flowering pomegranate is easily kept under 2’ tall with occasional pruning done in late dormant season. The fruit may be dried for use in wreaths and floral arrangements.

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Grown for bright fruit and evergreen foliage, this shrub is versatile in the landscape. It is fast growing and may be trained into a thick hedge for privacy. Small spring flowers are a dull white, sometimes considered an unpleasant smell. Pyracantha tolerates most soils and should not be over-watered.

Tip: When grown as a hedge its thorny nature provides privacy and security from trespassers, both animal and human.

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Grown for form and foliage, clusters of flowers are inconspicuous but mature to pea sized berries that attract birds and volunteer seedlings. Berries turn from green to red to black as they mature. Leaves are shiny or dull, dark green to yellow green and 2" long.

Often leaves are paler on the underside and sometimes hairy. Plant accepts pruning and shaping. Excellent for drought tolerant and low water landscapes.

Tip: A background planting with inconspicuous flowers that turn to colorful pea-size berries.

Can be messy, but the birds will love them.

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4-5’ tall, 5-6’ wide Full sun to part shade Tolerates occasional to regular irrigation Evergreen Easily grown in valley climates; makes a good hedge, individual, or grouping; plant along house, fence, or use as a specimen plant where showy spring color is desired. Leaves are about 1½ to 3" long, and pointed at petiole (stem); new leaves are bronze to reddish;

flowering is profuse with white to red blooms in clusters, turn to dark blue berry-like fruit in fall.

Can be pruned by cutting out branches to retain a more open effect or pinched yearly for a more dense appearance (pinch back after bloom in late summer or fall). Many varieties are available with various colors and height/width. Sheltered exposure protects from sunburn during hot San Joaquin Valley summers.

Tip: Great in valley climates. The variety ‘Enchantress’ or pink Indian hawthorne is a slightly smaller plant that grows to 3 feet.

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Most rhododendrons cannot be grown in the valley but the azaleas can. With many groups of evergreen azaleas, both species and hybrids, the choices seem limitless. Blooming in the spring with a wide variety of colors, they are excellent shrubs for the shade garden, either as specimen or focal point plants, or in combination with camellias, pierus and other springflowering shrubs. Often used as a background for spring blooming bulbs. Most prefer partial shade. Well-drained, but moisture-retentive acid soil, are ideal conditions. A thick layer of organic mulch helps keep roots cool in summer.

Tip: Azaleas planted on the north side of houses or in shade of large trees require less water and suffer less heat and sun stress than when planted on a south or west exposure.

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This spicy shrub can be smelled before it is seen. The long, tubular, yellow blossoms appear among the thin, light-green leaves. Summer berries turn yellow to red then black.

This is a great shrub for attracting birds. To anyone from the East Coast, the golden currant can conjure up memories of an old fashioned garden.

Tip: Those without spines are called currants. Those with spines are called gooseberries.

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Tolerates most soils but must have good drainage. Plant where they have good air circulation and away from large trees or shrubs that will compete for sun, water and fertilizer. Regular moisture is essential but must drain well, mulch beneath plants to help conserve moisture. Fertilize throughout the growing season. Prune in January removing dead, weak or crossed limbs and some old growth. Most roses are forgiving if a pruning mistake is made. They are pretty tough for such beautiful flowers of so many colors.

Thorns are an integral part of the rose bush. There are miniatures (some have small flowers on large plants, some are true miniatures); there are teas with long elegant stems and about everything in between including climbers that can grow up to 3 stories high the ‘Belle of Portugal’ has been seen that high.

Tip: Remove the spent rose flowers to promote re-bloom all spring and summer. Start leaving them on the bush in October to encourage dormancy of the plant for winter.

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Nurseries have a variety called ‘Grandiflorum’ that has 2" oval bright green leaves and purple 1½" flowers that bloom almost all year except the coldest months. It can be shaped into a small tree and grown in a container or allowed to grow very large each year (lightly prune twice during season and then back to 4’ high in early spring). Responds to all kinds of pruning and shaping. Can be trained as a vine on a lattice. This bush is a good screen right down to the ground. Very few weeds grow beneath it. A few starters come up from the roots; this makes sharing plants a pleasure. Very easy to grow.

Tip: This, almost care and pest free, plant will cover itself with cheerful, purple blossoms for nine (or more) months every year.

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5-6’ tall, 10’ wide Full sun or light shade Regular to moderate water Deciduous There are two distinct kinds of spirea: the bridal wreath type and the shrubby type. The double bridal wreath is an early spring/summer stunning bloomer. Bridal wreath species need less pruning than other spirea. Tough and easy to grow, the double white flowers crown the leafy branches. Lance-shaped blue-green leaves drop late and show no fall color.

Tip: The Spiraea japonica ‘Anthony Waterer’ in the photograph bears flowers of various shades of pink. Some Spiraeas have yellow, instead of green leaves.

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20’ tall and wide Light shade Light to moderate water Deciduous Syringa vulgaris Common lilac. Needs two to five years to bear full size flowers with a true color. Early spring blooms develop after leaves have formed. Blooms reek of nostalgia and heady aroma. Remove spent blossom clusters cutting back to a pair of leaves. Growth buds at this point will make flowering stems for next year. Gradually discontinue watering at the end of summer to force dormancy.

French hybrids are numerous: Syringa vulgaris x ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ (‘Beauty of Moscow’) is one. Lavender-rose tinted buds open to creamy white double petal flowers.

Beautifully fragrant and also attracts butterflies.

Tip: For the best spring show of bloom, be sure soil is well draining, neutral to slightly alkali. If soil is strongly acidic, dig lime into it before planting.

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These are rather formal shrubs with tight growth, often trimmed into geometrical forms.

Young foliage is scale-like in a fan formation; some varieties are yellow-green or bright golden-yellow. Thujas need rich, moist soil; some can tolerate fairly dry conditions. All varieties need well drained soil and are low growing. Cones are green or bluish green, turning to brownish.

Tip: Fragrant, dense foliage blocks noise, wind, and prying eyes. Makes a nice addition to holiday swags and wreaths.

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Gardeners willing to take the risk of losing a Tibouchina to a severe frost are rewarded with beautiful royal purple flowers. The large shrub grows a little rampant and tends to sprawl if not pruned. Large velvety 5" evergreen leaves with a coarse appearance and a fine dark green color are covered with soft white hairs. In cold weather a few leaves turn a bronzy-red, adding to the visual appeal. Water regularly, but do not over water.

Tip: Nice planted among white or yellow flowering plants such as Euryops or Shasta Daisies.

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3-4 ft. tall and wide to 8-15’ tall and wide Full sun or partial shade Regular water, with some exceptions Deciduous and evergreen shrubs or small trees Viburnums are a very diverse group of plants, from flower displays to leaf and flower color; most have oval leaves and clusters of white-whitish flowers in the spring, followed by beautifully colored, small, single seeded fruits. Some viburnums are grown for their showy flowers and others for their very attractive dark blue fruit. Moderate upright growth pattern.

Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ (‘Compactum’) is a low maintenance plant, moderately growing to 4-6 ft. tall and wide, great for foundation planting, or could be a small hedge.

Prune as necessary for shaping, and give regular water.

Tip: V. opulus ‘Roseum’ is what is commonly known as the Snowball Bush. V. x carlcephalum is similar, but has the added bonus of nice fragrance.



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